Elijah Wood

June 20, 2013

I am Elijah Wood - AMA!

Hi reddit, Elijah here. You have probably seen some of the films I've been in, plus I'm on a tv show called WILFRED. And I deejay. And I produce horror movies too; and I'm in a film called MANIAC that comes out this Friday. That was a mouthful. Anyways, I'm ready to take your questions. Ask away!

proof here

edit - I'm so sorry guys, have to go - this has been an incredible experience and something that I have wanted to do for a while now, so thank you for all of your questions and providing me some fun things to think about. And I hope you all had as much fun as I did. I hope to come back.

Hi Elijah, thanks for doing the AMA!

Could you update your twitter with a link to this AMA please?

Proof provided on Facebook (link in the original post), thanks and enjoy the AMA!

To the users: We have already had confirmation that this is indeed the username Elijah would be using, however providing proof on the day is always encouraged!

Sorry for the delay guys!

What kind of music do you play when you deejay?

I play a wide variety of music; everything from old soul and funk records, to international pysch music from Brazil and France and Africa, to recently old disco records and early techno records and disco edits. And then, you know, I've got old garage rock records too. Pretty much anytime I travel to a new city, the first 2 things I'm looking for are record stores and restaurants.

Thank you for this AMA and all your many great roles!

Thank you again for this AMA and look forward to your responses!

I was probably 5 years old when my mother saw a commercial on television, and she had this thought that it would be fun for me to do commercials, because I had (and have) a lot of energy. She felt like it was a good outlet for me. So (this was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) - there really wasn't much of an outlet for that kind of vocation, so she enrolled me in a modeling school that had an acting element to it. I ended up doing some local runway modeling... to make a long story short, the school ended up taking some of its clients out to California for the International Modeling & Talent Convention. So my brother (who's seven years older than me - he was already doing drama and musicals in school) and I went out to that together - it was my first time to Los Angeles, which was mindblowing. I remember being fascinated by the palm trees from the plane as we were landing. And it was there that I met the man who became my manager. He stopped me in the lobby of the Biltmore hotel and asked if I had ever thought or was interested in being an actor, and I remember responding "yes! that sounds fun." Shortly thereafter, my brother, mother and I moved out to Los angeles for pilot season, to audition - and after 6 weeks of auditioning (*I got a commercial agent too), I got my first job, which was a Paula Abdul music video, for "Forever your Girl." Which, consequently, I later found out was directed by David Fincher before he started making movies. So that was kind of it - I had that first experience, I did a number of commercials after it, and it was later that year that I got my first role in a film, which was a small role in "Back to the Future II." Which was mindblowing to a 8 year old.

The moment in my career - I feel like I've had a lot of those experiences. It was incredibly surreal being onstage with a number of the case members and Peter Jackson accepting the award for Best Picture at the Oscars. You don't ever imagine that you'll be in that scenario. Hosting SNL was a similar, surreal experience - a show that I grew up watching, and I was petrified at the notion of hosting, and I found myself loving it. I have to say my life has been blessed with many experiences I never imagine I would have, and not even all of them relating to the movie industry.

The new season of WILFRED - we definitely focus on the origin and the mystery that is the childhood drawing. And we address my issues with my father a bit more, and I think (from what I can tell of the experience making this season), it will be the funniest season, because I don't remember ever having laughed as much.

For the podcast, private message me and I'll forward it to my publicist.

Do you agree that Andy Serkis deserves an Oscar? Also, what was it like eating people in Sin City?

I think his performance is extraordinary. I think if the question is about whether or not a motion capture performer (or performance) should be nominated, or should be considered, the same as another live-action performance, then yes - I think it should be considered. And i think his work in any of the films that he's done as a motion capture artist has been excellent simply as an actor, motion capture aside. And there's no question that he has created one of the most memorable characters of the past decade with Gollum. So should he be recognized for his work as an actor? Absolutely.

Well, in Sin City I didn't actually get to eat anyone - there was no simulation of eating - so unfortunately I didn't even get to have an imagined experience eating the flesh of my victims.

What's it like working with a person who has to act like a dog?

Love the show by the way, thanks for doing this AMA

It feels really normal to me now. I think I'm kind of like Ryan in that I've accepted him as a part of my reality. I find the dog-isms (when Wilfred is actually behaving as a dog, but in human form) really funny.

You're welcome - I'm really excited to be doing this AMA!

Is Ian McKellen as cool as gandalf in real life?

Ian McKellen might be cooler than Gandalf.

Elijah, have you ever dealt with depression or similar adversities? If you have, how did you pull through it?

I can't say that I've dealt with depression, because I think that's a really heavy thing, and I think that people sometimes use that word really lightly in reference to being blue or depressed. So no, I've not dealt with depression, but I deal with anxiety on a minor level. It's something that I've had most of my life, and it never manifests on an uncontrollable level with panic attacks, it's just more reflective of a sensitivity to everything around me. Most of the time, I just accept it or try to understand what I'm feeling anxious about, and work through it - sometimes if I'm nervous, I talk about it, and that helps. You know, all you can do is sort of ride it out, because sometimes it has a mind of its own. Also I tell myself that it's manifested out of my mind and emotions - I think a real understanding that I came to about anxiety specifically is created by what you're sort of unconciously telling yourself.

First off, I'm a big fan. Have been since I saw The Good Son as a kid. And Wilfred is bloody brilliant.

  1. Why did none of the characters in The Faculty die?
  2. What's your favorite film?

1.) SPOILER ALERT: I guess they don't die - maybe it's just the way that that alien manifests? because it takes over - almost like INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS - maybe once that parasite leaves the body, it doesn't kill you. But there's also that thing at the end of the movie where they are all suddenly cool at the end - like my character gets the girl - maybe they're all actually aliens? Also - special mention - it's Robert Rodriguez's birthday today, so happy birthday Robert!

2.) My favorite film - that's a very difficult question. But I tend to - I have a stock answer. Which is HARVIE, with Jimmy Stewart. I go back to that movie a lot. I've seen it a number of times. There might be films that I actually love more than that, but I love the film and think it's really profound and I think it can be enjoyed on multiple levels - it's very funny, but it's also left for interpretation as to what Harvie is and what is gong on with Jimmy Stewart's character. And WILFRED is actually quite similar in some ways to Harvie.


Oh man... what most influenced me... I think the horror movie that looms most in my mind is HALLOWEEN. I don't know that that movie influenced me, but I think it was a horror film that I saw relatively early in my horror consumption that I feel is an incredibly influential film, and where I was able to see to a certain degree what you can do with the genre at a higher level.

So there's a film called A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, which is an Iranian vampire film shot in B&W and in Farsi, that's in post-production right now. We are about to shoot a movie called COOTIES, about a zombie virus that affects children pre-puberty and a group of teachers who are stuck in an elementary school (and that was written by Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan; Leigh wrote SAW and Ian created GLEE, so it should be an interesting combination). And we have a film that we picked up last year while we were programming our horror film festival called NIGHTMARE CITY with Cinefamily called TOAD ROAD, which is a documentary that weaves in a horror narrative and it's being released this October.


There is a painting in my attic that is doing that for me.

Which of your roles was the most fun to perform, and why was it Spyro?

So are you basically asking why did I do the voice for Spyro? Because it seemed like a fun videogame to lend a voice to. I like videogames.

How did you like your performance in sin city? Was it fun to play such a creature?

I think you were great.

Thank you! It was a blast. I remember sitting down with Robert Rodriguez before they started shooting the feature, and we were at dinner, and he told me that he was adapting a number of the SIN CITY books into a film, and he said "come out to my car, and I'll show you the first scene of the movie." And he had shot the opening scene with Josh Hartnett as a promo to prove to Frank Miller that it was possible to bring his work to the screen in a way that was true to the comic book. And I was later asked if I would come in and put myself on tape for Kevin, which was hilarious, because Kevin doesn't have any dialogue, so my audition for Robert in a hotel room in LA consisted of me staring at a camera with glasses on whilst he read Marv's dialogue.

I just wanted to say that I loved you in Yo Gabba Gabba.

Oh thanks! it was fun to be a part of that show. it's such an incredible children's program, both for adults and for kids. And I was really excited to be a part of it.

I must say I loved the Faculty but LOTR was excellent. I would love to know how working with Hugo Weaving was, I know his roles are generally so serious is he just a downright funny guy or what?

he's a sweetheart. I just recently saw him for the first time in a long time when we were doing promotion for THE HOBBIT. And it reminded me what a kind and gentle soul he is, and very funny, with a great wry sense of humor. The thing is, he can actually be incredibly funny - he was in THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILA, so he can be very funny. Not a lot of people know that.

Hey Elijah. When is the faculty 2 coming out?!?

In an alternate universe, it would be cool to have a reunion. Like Josh's character - did he fall apart? Did Casey end up getting into photojournalism, or is he a millionaire from an internet startup? Is he married to Jordana Brewster's character or did he find someone else? Now that I think about it, there's a lot to explore. And the return of the aliens, obviously.

Hey man!

Maniac looks great! Who are your favorite movie psycho killers?

Michael Myers, Leatherface, the devil that possesses Reagan, Hannibal Lecter...Ed Gein has been amalgamized into a variety of different characters (Norman Bates, Leatherface, the list goes on). Oh, and Patrick Bateman, because he's probably my favorite villain from the literary world. I mean, there's no better character than that as far as a psychopath.

Hey Elijah! How were you introduced for the role of Ryan on Wilfred?

I was sent the script from my manager, who had read it and thought it was very funny, and I read it immediately, and it was unlike anything I'd ever read before or seen on television. And it made me laugh, and I loved how weird and dark it was. So I just wanted to move forward with it from there.

Hi! So, I’ve adored you ever since I first saw Flipper; and Green Street Hooligans and Lord of the Rings are two of my favourite movies (or series, as the case may be).

I actually have two questions for you.

  1. What was it like to be the King of the Bacchus Parade, and one of the princes the next year (when Sean was King)? I was there both years, and I actually have one of the rings from when you were King. It just looks like it would be an incredible experience.

  2. In your opinion, what is the worst/most nerve-wracking part of auditions? I’m trying to overcome an over-whelming fear of them, and for some reason, hearing the answer to that question seems to help just a little bit.

Oh! And thank you for introducing me, unknowingly, to some pretty spectacular music. Any recommendations?

1.) It was an incredible experience. I didn't know much about Mardi Gras prior to that, and it really is an extraordinary way to experience that festival and New Orleans - and all of it I was experiencing for the first time. Totally overwhelming, but extremely exciting, riding on a float through the city and throwing dubloons with my face on them and beads at people... A number of my friends came and were on the float with me, it was a pretty magical trip. And then getting to return as Prince to Sean Astin's king was great because I actually as a result didn't have any of the responsibility does - it's actually a quite intense schedule for the King, so as prince, I got to enjoy all the same fun experiences without having quite so much responsibility.

2.) Well, I still get nervous for auditions. I don't know if that will make you feel any better. I find that sometimes, if I articulate that I'm a little nervous, it helps. I also find that to find a comfort zone for myself by communicating - just having a chat with people in the room prior to actually getting into the audition part helps. To just talk about something else and relate to them as people - it humanizes the experience, and takes it away from being a judgement hou.

Recommendations -

I love you.

I love you, too.

Hey Elijah, back in 2008, my high school marching band and I were coming back from a competition in Montreal to Burlington, VT, and on one of our pit stops, we saw you in a diner in a small town with probably one of the most attractive women ever. None of us wanted to bother you while you were on a date so we left you alone, but after all these years, all of us are dying to know: how did that date end up?

Also, since most people will ask you about being Ryan or Frodo, I just want you to know that I loved your work in the Oxford Murders and Green Street.

That's awesome. I was with my then-girlfriend at the time, so it wasn't a first date. We had been dating for a couple of years at that point, but we're no longer together. But it was a great trip to Vermont. A retroactive hello, though.

How hard is it to stay serious while talking to a grown man in a dog costume?

It's not hard, it's actually pretty easy. Seeing Jason in the costume is so normal now, that sometimes I forget that it might appear odd to the outside world. There's a part of Wilfred that is real to me, I think.

Quick question from a friend who doesn't have Reddit but wanted to ask you this undying question:

Did you get to keep the ring?


EDIT 2: He has signed up! /u/JRCornetto97

Awesome. Yes, I did. I've got one of the Rings. Peter and Fran gave it to me upon completion of pickups for the first film. I don't know how many other Rings there are, it's a small number - there are a few really large rings they made for close-ups and different perspectives, depending on what they were shooting the ring for. But I have the standard size that I wore around my neck - and I have the chain as well.

  1. You're a horror fan I know. What horror movie has genuinely disturbed you and stuck with you the longest?

  2. Ever have a real life paranormal experience that you want to share with us?

  3. Out of all the opening quotes from Wilfred, which speaks the most wisdom to you? (I like "If we knew each other's secrets, what comfort should we find.")

You've been my favorite actor since we were both little kids. (I'm one year older than you.) You helped both kid me and adult me through seriously hard times by giving me movies or shows or interviews to look forward to. So I just wanted to say thank you for being one of the lights in the darkness. I wish you all the best in your career and with Season 3 of Wilfred!

1.) I found MARTYRS very disturbing, it's a French horror film. It's brutal, and I love the film, but it's hard to watch.

2.) I wish! I've had potentially ambiguous / benign experiences where I thought I heard my name whispered as I was falling asleep - actually, I have one story. I was sitting in the backhouse of my family's last home and I heard the backdoor to the main house open and shut. And I sat up, and waited, because the only person that was in the main house was my sister, so I assumed that in seconds my door was going to open and my sister was going to be there. And that timing went by, and no one came to the door, so I picked up the phone to call the main house, and I pressed talk, and there was no dial-tone, because my sister was trying to call me at exactly the same time, because she had thought that I had opened the door to go into the main house. And we both simultaneously said "Was that you?"

It freaked us out. Hannah was more concerned that it might be an intruder in the house than I was, and we checked the perimeter of the house and there was no one around, but it was so clear that we had both thought the other of us had opened and shut the door.

What's your favorite ice cream? And is legolas as hot as he is in the movies?

Coffee ice cream. And that's relatively subjective, I think? He looked the same as he does in the movies in real life when we were filming.

Why didn't you take the eagles straight to Mordor man?

Take it up with J.R.R. Tolkien!

What is the most common misconception people believe about you, which is not true?

That I'm either Daniel Radcliffe or Tobey Maguire.

How did the movie, "The Good Son" affect you as a child. I've always wondered how much a child in a movie like that is told, or sees. Did they talk to you about right & wrong?

I was 12 when we made that, and definitely read the script, and had an understanding of what was actually happening. So I was aware of the darkness of Macaulay's character, and ultimately what the result at the end of the film is. And I think at that point - I remember reading it and having a sense of morality, and I think even understood that he was probably mentally or emotionally disturbed, I didn't feel like anything had to be explained to me.


I just started playing THE LAST OF US - it's incredible. I'm looking forward to the new QUANTIC DREAM game, and the new CALL OF DUTY as well. And GTA 5.

Just wanted to say how much I loved Everything is Illuminated! I'm a huge fan of yours but this is definitely my favorite.

What do you do when you're looking for a break from acting?

I spend my time buying records, playing records (which is definitely a creative outlet), and work with my production company keeps me busy. And it's good to find time to actually take off, too.

One of my favorites that I never see discussed on the webs is Radio Flyer. It really captured life from a kids perspective the same way The Sandlot or Stand By Me did, but never really received similar acclaim.

Do you think the dark tones turned people off?

That's a good question. I think that might have been the case. It was actually written by David Mickey Evans, who wrote and directed THE SANDLOT. I agree, it's a film I love, and interestingly enough the original version of the film was far darker than the movie that we made.

Hi!! I didn't know you were a DJ! How would you describe your style?

Also, what's your weirdest talent?

EDIT: You discussed your DJ stuff already! So new question: Do you have a favorite video game to play?

I don't know if I have a style in terms of what I do with the records live, I think that I would define myself as more of a selector than someone who sort of creates and manipulates live textures with music. I just play songs, so it comes down to song selection for me.

I don't know if I have a weird talent. I wish I could draw, it's a gift that people have that I think (unless it were playing an instrument) it's the one thing I really wish I could do, is to draw, because i could imagine spending a lot of time filling sketchbooks, and I don't have an ability for it at all. I think it's something that you can learn, but there are people who can just do that - it's an innate ability.

Hi Elijah! Big fan as well here.

Thank you for your time and awesome career! Keep at it!

There haven't been any roles that I have hated; like anything, some experiences are better than others. I think there's no way to not point to the experience of LOTR as being a sort of benchmark, apex experience for me, because it encapsulated so much over such a long period of time, and in some ways, had more to do with a life experience than simply playing a role. Additionally, working on a film last summer in Barcelona called GRAND PIANO may have been one of my favorite experiences making a movie ever.

Hi Mr.Wood two questions, was it fun working with Peter Jackson? Also is Jason Gann a nice guy? He seems like a really nice person.

(Fan boy alert) you were the best in The Lord of The Rings and I hope you keep up your successful career!

Yes, it was fun. It was more than fun.

Jason is lovely, he has a gentle, sweet soul.

(thank you!)

Do you remember the taste of the strawberries mister Frodo?

I do. The Shire has delicious strawberries.

Any advice for aspiring actors trying to start their careers? (Fresh out of college, oh god please somebody help)

It's not easy, you know? It's difficult to get into the industry, because there is so much competition and there are so many people who move to either NY or LA with the same hopes and dreams. I think that the most successful people (in any art form or vocation) are people that don't wait for it to come to them. They are auditioning, making short films, helping out friends - so that they are active and not just on an audition path, so that at the very least you are creative and doing what you love to do in hopes that it will expand into something that you can make a living from doing. I think it's important to hit the ground running to a certain degree. And it's easy to get discouraged, so perseverance is important. As a kind of guiding principle, integrity is of the utmost importance - so decide whether you want to be an actor because you want to be famous, or because you find it creatively gratifying because those are 2 very different things. As long as you're being true to yourself, you can't really go wrong.

What is your favorite thing to eat?

Pizza is one of my favorite things, as it turns out, and I love Japanese food. I've eaten all kinds of sushi and am a pretty massive foodie in general.


That's really sweet! It's a good birthday to have, fellow Aquarius.

There are definitely jokes and moments that didn't make the final TV edit of episodes of WILFRED, although I can't remember any specific jokes that didn't make it. But we were actually talking about maybe doing special DVDs for next season, wherein we actually shoot kind of a non-edited version of a scene that could make a special edition DVD which I think would be kind of fun, and we could include more off-color words, humor, etc. Most of the content that ends up getting cut isn't cut because of the nature of the content, it's because of time. We have 21 or 22 minutes for an episode, so oftentimes our episodes run ever slightly too long, and the first things to go are usually jokes, because the show relies structurally on storytelling, and we can't cut story, otherwise the episode won't make as much sense.

In the event of a full-blown zombie apocalypse what weapon would you want to have the most, and what sidekick/partner would you want to have to back you up as you try to survive?


if you can turn into any animal at will (and back again) what would you pick and why?

In a Zombie apocalypse... a flamethrower would be pretty awesome, but the zombies could still walk as they're on fire. I'd go with a shotgun with a flamethrower attachment. Or an assault rifle, because then you've got distance, and you can keep a great amount of distance between you and the zombies as you pick them off.

As far as a sidekick is concerned, I gotta say it's not necessarily muscle that you want to rely on in a zombie apocalypse - you need someone sprightly, limber and fast. So the girl in THE WALKING DEAD with the katanas -that's the kind of sidekick you want. In fact, she'd be perfect.

If I could turn into any animal - probably a falcon or an eagle, something that could fly. Because then you could quickly get from one place to another.

Did you have a chance to enjoy the beauty of New Zealand while you were filming there, or did the work keep you pretty busy?

The work (thankfully) was located in the midst of the great beauty of New Zealand - quite often in remote areas that some New Zealanders have never been to - so we were very fortunate to be surrounded by its landscapes all of the time. It was really extraordinary.

Do you own a dog? If so what kind?

I would like a dog. I particularly love Labradoodles, which is not exactly the most masculine name of a dog to say - "i want to get a labradoodle!" doesn't exactly sound awesome. But they are beautiful dogs. I love cats too, for the record - I know that people are usually either dog people or cat people, but I am animal ambidextrous.

What's your favorite movie/tv show?

Loved you in family guy, btw.

Favorite television show is probably GAME OF THRONES at the moment, but I can't wait for the last season of BREAKING BAD.

Favorite movie I answered earlier with HARVIE.

And cool - thanks!

Hi Elijah! As a music lover and a fan of horror films, which horror film would you say has the best soundtrack?

Goblin's SUSPIRIA score is awesome. And John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN score is incredible.

What's your favourite mythical creature?

Minotaurs are pretty incredible. I think I used to think that Medusa / Gorgons were kind of sexy, actually, except for their staring with their snake hair turning you into stone. I'll have to go with dragons - although I'm of the belief that some of these mythical creatures may have existed at some point. I like to believe in the possibility of everything. I have read a great quote from ALICE IN WONDERLAND - "I can't believe that, said Alice. 'Can't you?' the Queen said in a pitying tone. "Draw a long breath and shut your eyes." "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen"

It's an awesome quote (sorry for typos).

If you had to choose between Mr T and Samuel L. Jackson, who would you rather have as a granddad and why?

Samuel L Jackson. I used to watch THE A-TEAM when I was a kid, so I definitely have a love for Mr. T, it was one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. At the end of every episode, I would be so charged with energy I would grab pillows and get out the aggression that the show somehow inspired. But Samuel L Jackson... I don't think you can get more badass. I think he has taken ownership of "Badass" and that definition in a way that has surpassed many people. He's a cool motherfucker.

Do you have a resident deejay spot? What's your favorite city to guest deejay?

I don't, but I'm a part of a DJ collective called The Embassy that has a regular dj night at a place called "No Vacancy". One of my favorite experiences DJing was at a small bar in London called Market Bar, in an area called Dalston.

Thanks for the AMA Elijah! What was your favourite scene to shoot in the LOTR trilogy?

I would say that one of the more gratifying scenes to shoot was the scene with Frodo and Sam on the side of Mount Doom, when Sam has to pick Frodo up to take him up the side of the mountain. It was really emotional and difficult, yet it felt really good. And any scene from THE FELLOWSHIP with a large group of us - with the four Hobbits, or with other members - those scenes were always a lot of fun, because we all got along so well. When The Fellowship broke at the end of the first film, in some ways that happened while we were shooting, because different factions were shooting in different sets - so it was always nice to see friends.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Elijah Wood conducted on Reddit on 2013-06-20. The Reddit AMA can be found here.